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2005 in review

 

In addition to monthly reports presented in the "Villager," Mayor Eisentrout has requested that the various Village departments provide annual wrap-ups. Here is a summary of 2005 ...

Item Grant
Funds
Village
Monies
EMS - 30 emergency hazard first-response suits, fitted with air masks
Homeland Security
$1,400
No
Village funds
Police - police bike & equipment. Note that a second bike was purchased with the unspent portion of grant funds, allowing for a second bike at a cost of appx. $200 to the Village.
$4,424
$1,106
Police - requested 8 portable and 1 mobile radios with accessories ($38,871) ... received 2 portable & 1 mobile radios with accessories
Homeland Security
$4,376
No
Village funds
Police - 2 new computers & printers, with accessories, for information-sharing among police departments throughout the state
Homeland Security
Est. $5,700
No
Village funds
Police - bulletproof vests, delayed because of federal hold since 2004 - pending
Homeland Security
$11,760
No
Village funds

 

 

fire department - ems

By Chief Rick Hoechstetter ... The Fire Department responded to 606 runs this year, a 26% increase over the previous year. I would like to commend the officers and members of Medic 119 for their commitment to the Department and thank them for the 7,910 hours of volunteer time donated this past year.

We replaced the cab and chassis under Medic 119 in March, the work being done by Lifestar Rescue Service in Van Wert OH. Thanks to a cancelled order just before our arrival at Lifestar, we were given a Ford E350 Super Duty chassis at no extra cost. It is a truck several grades better than the one we had contracted to purchase and which represented a $2,250 savings. The "reboxing" project was completed in March, and, thanks to the upgraded chassis, the vehicle handles better now than ever before. Lifestar also replaced many of the interior components of the "box," making the entire vehicle feel like new. The project cost $78,000, and we expect that the refurbished Medic 119 will provide us with many years of service. We had investigated the cost of buying a new or used medic instead and received quotes ranging from $95,000 to $215,000. We are already saving as much as possible during the year on capital expenditures to build the EMS Medic fund back up for the next purchase, which we hope to put off for a decade.

Blendon Township provided us with another $6,000 under our annual EMS contract. At the end of the year, Mayor Eisentrout and I renegotiated the Blendon Township EMS contract; it is now valued at $8,000 per year. The contract had not been changed in many years and did not reflect the increased costs of operating an Advance Life Support vehicle.
Recent legislation has changed the regulations governing eligibility in the State EMS grant funds. Departments that do not provide continuous coverage are now excluded, so we no longer qualify to receive these funds. There have been other efforts made to exclude some of the smaller departments from this funding pool. In the 2003 grant cycle, the State EMS Grant Program changed the rules governing how departments applied for funding. They invited applicants to make their best case for being given funds (instead of just reporting needs, which was the way it had always been done). The result was that all of the bigger departments hired grant writers, and, as the head of the EMS Grants said, 28% of the applicants received 89% of the funds. We received $120 that year; we usually receive $7,000.

We have traditionally used the State EMS Grant funds for our Tuition Reimbursement Program, one of the only tangible benefits we can offer members and, as such, one of our most effective recruitment strategies. Roughly half of the Department's paramedics are beneficiaries of this program. We believe that this change in State EMS policy has eliminated the departments most in need of financial assistance.

At the end of the year, we were informed that, as part of an agreement that Nextel had signed with FCC, they agreed to "reband" all of the radios in the range of frequencies that they are to purchase. Many of the radios used by Fire, EMS, and Police departments in the United States use these frequencies, including ours. We also received an offer from a local vendor to purchase several of the same older type of radios that we already have for $275 each. Nextel will replace all radios in the "rebanding" area with new "interoperable" models in four "waves." Columbus lies in the fourth wave, and they expect to reach us in late 2006 or early 2007. We had applied to Homeland Defense for new radios but were told that it would be more effective to seek other funding sources, so we have taken this direction in the effort to achieve interoperable status instead. Also during this period, our long-suffering garage door opener finally broke in a way that I could not fix. A local company offered to replace it for $375, and we accepted. We would like to express our gratitude to Clerk-Treasurer Suzanne Coulter for her assistance at the 11th hour in making these purchases. We would also like to thank Mayor Lynn Eisentrout and the Village Council for their ongoing efforts regarding the potential annexation of the golf course property. Establishing the Residential TIF took a great deal of effort, but with it in place, we look forward to the coming years and the truly exciting possibilities for growth and development on the horizon. We are very proud to serve this community and feel honored to play a part in its future.

Finally, it is with deep sadness that I must mark the passing of one of our in-charge medics, Eric A. Johnson, Esq., on July 24. Eric was piloting a small plane near Rock Hill NC when his aircraft reportedly developed engine trouble. In characteristic form, Eric sacrificed himself to avoid causing harm to anyone on the ground, bringing the aircraft down in the front yard of a municipal pool surrounded by a suburban neighborhood. Eric enriched our lives, and he lived by example, challenging us to live up to our full potential. He had a natural flair for changing lives for the better, and we all miss him.

 

police department

By Chief Bobbie Hillard ...

Community Service - Sergeant Adam Beach presented a safety belt program to all 3rd-graders at Hawthorne Elementary School.

Officers Serving Our Country - In October, Patrolman Michael Back, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, returned from Iraq, where he provided supply route security. In May, Training Sergeant James Meade returned from Iraq, where he assisted in training police officers. We thank you both for your service!

In 2005, we welcomed a female officer to our ranks, the first in many years—Jennifer Phillips.

Collaborative efforts with area agencies help keep our Village safe. Our 2005 statistics are as follows:

Dispatched runs
962
Nondispatched runs
548
Assist area agencies
549
Misdemeanor arrests
144
Felony arrests
18
Assaults
5
Sex offense
2
Robberies
2
Burglaries
3
Auto theft
2
Criminal mischief
2
Criminal damaging
4
Telephone harassment
3
Breaking & entering
1
Suspicious people
160
Sucpicious vehicles
135
Motorist assists
64
9-1-1 calls
39
Burglary in progress false alarm
15
Breaking & entering false alarm
25
Domestic disputes or violence
9
Missing people
3
Stolen vehicle recoveries
5
Traffic citations
1,159
Warning citations
73
Identity thefts
2
Interference with custody
1

 

mayor’s court

By Charline Garrabrant, Clerk of Courts ... The public is invited to attend Mayor's Court, held every other Tuesday at 5:30p. Our 2005 statistics are as follows:

Total receipts
$44,137
Paid to the state
$5,068
To MP computer fund
$1,130
To MP general fund
$37,219

 

clerk-treasurer

By Suzanne Coulter ... The year 2005 proved to be a year of challenges and progress. We continue to be tight with money in our General Fund, ending the year with just over $37,000 in our account. The income tax remains a bit mysterious to us in terms of how much money it will actually generate for the Village. As of December 31, the income tax revenue was $129,890.61. RITA (the Regional Income Tax Agency), which collects our income tax, had predicted annual revenue of $265,000. The income tax year runs from January 1 to December 31, with people filing their income tax returns by the following April 15. Therefore, the Village will not truly know what the revenue is from the 2005 income tax until June 2006, when my department receives the final numbers from RITA. This revenue was a great help this year, and we would have had to cut back our budget without it. The Village's state funding was again cut this year by about $4,000, and we expect this to be about the same in 2006.

On the positive side, we had a great year for getting things done around the Village while keeping our expenses down. In 2004, the General Fund expenditures totaled $830,813.89. In 2005, the General Fund expenditures totaled $785,346.71. Projects this year included street paving in the Wildwood Road area, which came in under budget. The area behind the strip mall on Cleveland Avenue has been cleaned up and made safe for emergency vehicles. The pool parking lot received new stone and was graded.

Our zoning ordinances have been monitored more closely this year, and violations have been effectively enforced at a lower cost than many years in the past, thanks to our Code Enforcement Officer, Dick Busick. A nearly new EMS vehicle was purchased and is now in service. Great family-oriented activities, such as the carriage rides and three children's parties, were well attended. There were canoe training classes on the lake.

In the Police Department, with help from grant money, the Village was able to purchase two new bicycles and all the equipment for two or our officers to use on bike patrol. The Village received 30 emergency hazard first response suits and air masks for both the Police officers and the volunteer EMS department, at no cost to the Village, from Homeland Security. Chief Bobbie Hillard, through incredible grant writing, also procured two new computers and printers at no cost to the Village, as part of the information sharing program for police departments throughout the state. The Police Department was awarded grant money in 2005 for new bulletproof vests, but because of a federal hold-up, the department has not received them yet. We hope to get them soon to keep our officers safe.

A Drug-Free Workplace program was set up and kicked off in June, which lowers the Village's workman's compensation expense. Many of the Village employees and council members were NIMS-certified (National Incident Management System) this year through FEMA. This certification was done so the Village would still be eligible to receive federal grant money in the coming years. Without this certification, the Village would not be eligible for many upcoming grant possibilities.

As Clerk-Treasurer, I continued in my yearly training with the State Auditor's office and continued in my capacity as a contracted visiting treasurer for it. Because of new federal regulations for government year-end financials, I was trained on how to do these new reports, am now training other treasurers throughout the state, and helped out the Auditor's office by testing the new software and giving suggestions for changes to the software to make it more user-friendly. I also continued my investment training with the State Treasurer's office to ensure continued success for the Village's investments.

I look forward to 2006 for the Village government as a whole, to continue to do great things around the Village as we monitor and wisely use your tax dollars. Please call or come in to the Clerk-Treasurer's office at any time, if you have questions.

 

zoning

By Susan Waldenmyer, Zoning Clerk ... We have had a busy year with all that has been going on! Our 2005 statistics are as follows:

25 permits
$753
2 variances
$200

 

The 2005 permits were as follows:

Fences
5
Plumbing
4
Decks 4
Sheds 3
Remodeling 2
Electrical 2
Home businesses 2
Fire restoration 1
Room addition 1
Porch portico 1

 

Zoning forms can be downloaded from the website.

 

zoning violations

By Dick Busick, Code Enforcement Officer ... The Zoning Commission worked on some of the enforcement issues for property maintenance and safety code violations. Code enforcement efforts in Minerva Park are focused on keeping our residential and commercial areas ones we can all be proud to live and work in. At the start of 2005, we had 34 locations that were not in conformance with our Zoning Code. By the end of 2005, we had reduced that inventory to 27, a 20% improvement. During the year, we resolved problems in 73 locations. In the summary table, below you can see that most of our unresolved cases are primarily spread across problems relating to unlicensed cars and trucks, improper storage of trailers and construction equipment, trash and dumpster problems, and finally a catch-all category of miscellaneous items. This latter category includes items such as poorly maintained properties and operating home businesses without the required home occupation permits.

The zoning violations summary for 2005 is as follows:

Unresolved at start of 2005
34
Trash
8
Trucks
6
Trailers
5
Dumpsters
4
Cars
2
Signs
1
Weeds
1
Miscellaneous
11
Resolved in 2005
73
Unresolved at end of 2005
27

 

We have made great improvements in areas that have in the past been a problem for the Village. Examples include boat storage, commercial signage, and sheds & fences being erected without proper authorization. To accomplish the above-listed improvements, Village Code Enforcement issued 32 violation letters and cited 11 cases into Mayor's Court for resolution. In some cases, the magistrate imposed rather substantial fines. Looking forward to 2006, we expect continued and expanded efforts in the proper regulation of Home Occupations.

During 2005, we discovered that, although most residents appreciate personal visits and informal discussion of problems related to their property, the majority of those who seem to have repeated problems with our codified ordinances respond only when they receive a formal notice of violation or citation into Mayor's Court. In the future, we will try to streamline that process so the length of time to solve a problem can be reduced.

 

the pool

By Reno Volpe, Board Treasurer ... It was great pool weather - certainly better than the last 2 years. In general, memberships were down from the previous years, and walk-ins were good but not great, despite a hard push in the area with advertising. We were disappointed with the attendance to the Opening Dessert Party, although Family Night was great, with a turn-out of approximately 150 people. The adult Wine & Cheese Party was well received, with approximately 50 people. And we were especially pleased that well over 100 people came to the memorial for Bob Jackson, who had been manager of the pool for 26 years.

Even though we had 189 paid memberships, we had a shortfall in revenue. The Village earmarked $30,000 in grant funds, but we used only about $18,000 of it.

We anticipate opening the 2006 season on Memorial Day weekend. We hope to see several MP families and groups as members this year. If you would like to volunteer or serve on the Pool Board, call Georganna Cannif at 882-2376.

 

community association

By Bob Gale, MPCA President ... The MPCA continues to have steady membership of Village residents. As of December 2005, we had 70% of Village households as dues-paying members. In 2005, the MCPA hosted more than 20 various activities paid for by your $15 dues, advertising in the Villager and Directory, the annual garage sale, and in-kind donations. Those activities included Garden Awards, Garden Tours, MinervaFlora beautification, Duck Award for Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Garage Sale, Children's Halloween Party, Greetings from the Sunshine Committee, Lake Clean-ups, Newcomers Committee welcome to new residents, Children's Easter Egg Hunt, Founder's Day, Children's Christmas Party, Publicity Committee, Northland Community Council participation, annual Resident Directory, Festival of Lights, Holiday Carriage Rides, Scholarships, and The Villager newsletter.

Milestones in 2005 included the MPCA again hosting Founders Day at the Minerva Park Pool. The MPCA thanks the Pool Board for their assistance. The Duck Award for Outstanding Citizen of the Year was presented Janet Kohn, a long-time Village resident, for her work for MinervaFlora and the MPCA membership drive.

As you can see, the MPCA was busy in 2005, and we expect to continue our activities at the same pace in 2006. We need volunteers to do these activities. Currently we have vacancies for the Northland Community Council liaison and Founders Day committee. We gratefully thank the current members of the MPCA board, including Sharon Bierman, Dick Busick, Suzanne Coulter, Lisa Craddock-Thitoff, Kim Dooley, Marilyn Herboltzheimer, Gretchen Pershon, Dianne Poncinie, Kathy Ramey, and Amy Szlapak. We need YOU to volunteer in 2006, so call Bob Gale at 560-0452.

 

the mayor’s office

This has been a busy and productive year.

In January, Dominion Homes ceased negotiations with the golf course property owners and the Village. Over the ensuing six weeks, we, along with the property owners, spoke to 13 different builders and developers interested in developing the golf course. Joshua Homes emerged as the "builder of choice." Negotiations continue between the two parties with the Village being kept apprised of any progress. We continue to impress upon the owners our willingness to annex the golf course into the Village and work with them toward that goal.

We would like to express our appreciation for your support of the two replacement levies this year-a 4 mill in May and a 1.9 mill in November. Referencing the Clerk-Treasurer's report, we have tried to be sensitive to our spending this past year and use your tax dollars wisely. The Police and EMS/Fire Departments continue their grant-seeking efforts despite new funding restrictions.

Our Street Repair Program continued with a mill & fill for Wildwood Road, North Bay Drive, and Cardinal Court. This proved to be quite a project but ended up coming in under budget. We are again seeking funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission's Small Government Division for the 2006 project.

In July, we lost a good friend of the Village. Mayor's Court Magistrate and member of the EMS Department, Eric Johnson, was tragically killed in an airplane accident and has been sorely missed.

In December, the Council passed the necessary legislation to establish a 30-year, 75% Residential Tax Increment Financing District, a TIF - adopting a Minerva Park Economic Development Plan, establishing a Tax Incentive Review Council, and receiving the Westerville School District's support for the TIF District when the School Board passed a resolution authorizing its officials to sign the School Compensation Agreement. These TIF funds can be used for road and infrastructure improvements, water and sewer line maintenance and upgrades, and to fund other projects.

We saw a number of resolved commercial and residential zoning code violations in 2005. As was mentioned in the June issue of the "Villager," there are concerns about how the Village is being perceived by realtors and the general public, property values, and homes being sold in a reasonable amount of time. Minerva Park has been referred to on a number of occasions as a "beautiful, peaceful oasis." It is, but we must remain vigilant to maintain our standards as a residential area with a wonderful historical heritage. To do so will benefit all of us. Additionally, each time a violation needs to be addressed, we spend money that could be used elsewhere.

In closing, I am grateful for all your suggestions, comments, and encouragement this past year. One of my goals for my administration has been an "open door policy" and to be available to you either by expanded office hours or by email. I would like to thank my fellow elected officials and staff for making this such a productive year.

Mayor Lynn Eisentrout

contact...

Village of Minerva Park
2829 Minerva Lake Road
Columbus OH 43231
614.882.5743
614.899.1296 fax
directions - map

 

March Events ...
4 Planning & Zoning
8 Council Work Session
9 Community Garden
10 Council Meeting
12 Mayor's Court
12 75th Anny Planning
12 MPCA Meeting
18 Green Team
14 Villager Deadline
22 Special Council Meeting
22 Council Work Session
24 Legislative Cmte
25 Safety & Finance Cmte
28 Golf Course Open Hse
31 Golf Course Work Session